American Atheists oppose U.S. Supreme Court review of Utah highway crosses case

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  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 28, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    Why not put a cross on the school grounds of every school were a dead school teacher worked. The proper place to give mounuments of recognition and honor to the dead is in the cementeries not on the public roads. It seems many use the dead as a way to promote their religion. Keep state and religion seperate.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 28, 2011 3:32 p.m.

    There is a classic design for wood doors called "Cross and Bible" with a raised vertical bar and two raised horizontal bars, suggesting to some people the picture of a cross above an open book. This is on doors of government buildings and historic buildings that are owned by governments and preserved for their historic value. But the 10th Circuit's ruling could be used as a basis to replace all those doors on government buildings with a flat surface, just because atheists might be irritated by a "Christian symbol".

    Atheists who think any display like these highway crosses is a religious emblem are just like the people who claim to see the face of Jesus or the Vrigin Mary in a piece of toast, a tree, a concrete wall, or some other object. They are seeing things that are not really there, projecting their own fantasies and claiming an intent that does not exist. God did NOT intend to put Mary's face on a tree down on 8th South in Salt Lake, and the Highway Patrol did NOT intend to make drivers think about Jesus out on a lonely highway where an officer was shot on duty.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    July 28, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    The signs are in the form of a cross because it is a recognized symbol of death. They are placed at the site where Utah law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, not at well-trafficked intersections where they will get maximum exposure to the driving public. They bear the name of the officers who so died in public service. They do not carry a message promoting any denomination, or calling on anyone to do anything, other than remember the service of a person who gave his life in protecting us. Only an angry, Christianity-hating atheist would even think of these as emblems of religious promotion rather than memorials to honor a dead public servant.

    Besides, they all bear the Utah beehive, an emblem of the state, but also one that is derived from the Book of Mormon. It appears on the state flag and seal on letterhead, etc., so it has acquired a meaning apart from its religious origins. Even though it has religious meaning in certain contexts for Mormons, they are not going to see it as a religious emblem in this context, just as they do not see the cross as religious.

  • George Bronx, NY
    July 28, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    you're right you are choosing not to understand. It is not about recognizing or not recognizing their sacrifices it is about how those sacrifices are being recognized. I also find it strange that yuo seem to think that none of these troopers may happen to not be Christian and dare I say maybe even be atheist.

  • Kate1966 SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    July 27, 2011 8:26 p.m.

    I have such a hard time understanding why this could offend anyone. It all comes down the desire to have more power and control. A fallen trooper who has given his life for me, that I may live in a safer world certainly deserves to be recognized. I think this would probably mean a great deal to his family also. I say to these at Atheists, if you cannot stand behind these men and woman who protect our nation--feel free to stand in front of them.

  • George Bronx, NY
    July 27, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    @couch biff
    turn in circles? At a certain point in these conversations it becomes obvious that some people either really do not have the ability to comprehend the written word or are purposely trying to miss understand the written word. So which is it Biff, do you not understand or are you purposely trying to miss understand? I am not sure how I can be any more clear about the fact that Arlington does not choose to only display crosses but allow many other symbols while the Utah Highway Patrol Organization has chosen to elevate the Christian symbol above all others.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    July 27, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    Public lands have been set aside ("ordained") for displaying religious symbols associated with a person's death.

    They are called graveyards.

    The side of a roadway is not the place for such symbols. They are not graveyards. We, atheists are perfectly content to pay our taxes for the upkeep and maintenance of such places where you can display your religious symbols and gather to worship your gods. By all means, display your own religious symbols on the public lands specifically dedicated for such purposes. All religions (or non-religions) will be treated equally in those places.

    But don't expect anyone else to support your attempts to promote your religions by placing religious symbols along the side of roadways. That is not the place for them, and your desires to do so is marketing and evangelism, not worship or respect for the deceased.

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    July 27, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    If someone believes in nature rather than God will we have to tear down trees?
    Freedom of religion does not imply freedom from seing anything that might be construed as religious, just freedom from being forced to embrace a particular religion (or any religion).

  • Itchin'totalk Spanish Fork, UT
    July 27, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    Why do people get so offended when individuals are simply trying to memorialize those that have sacrificed their lives for others? I am so sick and tired of the fact that the most powerful phrase in our country has become, "I'm offended!". When individuals are told time and again when something bothers you, such as a drunken fan at a game, a cursing teenager, immodest dress, or a filthy billboard, we are told to deal with it! Yet we cannot even recognize those that have lost their lives in the line of duty, because, "Someone's offended!"? This is the United States of America, where we supposedly have the right of freedom of expression and the freedom of religion, but obviously there are only a selected few who are given those rights.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    July 27, 2011 7:58 a.m.

    George, you're turning in circles. Displaying a cross on federal land (and Arlington is certainly federal) is the same as displaying a cross on a Utah highway. If it's a good enough marker to honor our war heroes, why can't it be a suitable marker for our public servants who have fallen in the line of duty?

  • Tyler Ray Taylorsville, UT
    July 26, 2011 8:06 p.m.

    Here's an idea...Leave it up to the family of the fallen officer to decide. Isn't that fair?

  • George Bronx, NY
    July 26, 2011 7:56 p.m.

    @Coach Biff
    "crosses and stars of david" along with many other religious and non religious symbols based on the solders beliefs.... again not showing favor of one religion or no religion over all others.... maybe it would help to read my post before lumping me in with other commentators and making the same tired comments. it may even save you some of those "mental gymnastics" required to keep your viewpoint in tact.

  • runwasatch Ogden, UT
    July 26, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    They love the courts when they think they can win...

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    July 26, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    I can see the points of view in this court case are very different. I really don't see why they don't want the Highest Court to decide? I can not believe that a cross on the side of the road is offensive. Every state in our nation has crosses on public buildings and on the side of the roads. Not just for fallen officers but for those who died in accidents. If the Atheiests win will every cross on any public place have to come down? Will the mother of the child killed in a car accident be arrested for the memorial she puts on the roadside?

  • rpjense West Jordan, UT
    July 26, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    Funny how the athiests hide behind the Constitution. As I recall, the Constitution emerged from a group of men who regularly relied on Deity to guide them. They prayed during the Contsitutional Convention. I guess that invalidates the entire deal, doesn't it?

    Why don't we just start over and rely on the atheistic religious belief. Their belief is that there is no God. They would have us believe that we all climbed out of a primordial soup and it was just a gigantic accident.

    Do you have any idea how statistically impossible their supposition is? Science requires a 95% confidence level to even consider a finding as valid. Yet, as a society, we buy into a series of cosmic accidents that are statistically nonsense. But, we teach it in the schools and lap it up like lemmings. We are told we must ignore the religious level of probablity, which is 50/50. There either is a God, or there isn't. If I'm a betting man, I'll take my chances with a 1 in 2 chance, instead of 1 in a quadrillion.

  • isrred Logan, UT
    July 26, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    Why use a symbol of historically barbaric torture and punishment as a memorial? Seems absurd.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 26, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    People are always talking about how religion is under attack.

    It is. But not from the atheists. The atheists say, "These are religious symbols and should be private and not out in the world to be mocked."

    The religionists say, "These aren't religious symbols. There is nothing special about a cross, or the Bible, or prayer, or the 10 Commandments, or God. They mean nothing and should be displayed whereever and whenever and treated however."

    Religion is under attack from the religionists who declare sacred symbols mean nothing.

  • Livingstone Orem, UT
    July 26, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    I don't get it. You don't have to be religious (I'm not) to understand that a cross has cultural significance as a respectful memorial. The only thing that should be opposed is if the family was Jewish and asked that a cross not be used (for instance, stars of David are often used as Jewish memorials). If I die, put up a's a sign of love and respect.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    July 26, 2011 4:15 p.m.

    jpjazz | 3:28 p.m. July 26, 2011
    Sandy, UT
    Whenever we hear of a news report concerning the AAI it always involves negative messages of some sort, whether it be the cross issue, public prayer or a NYC street sign recognizing the 911 victims.

    jpjazz, is it possible that you (and others) are casting the negative light on this because you disagree with the position of this group? Some could argue that they are trying to protect the Constitution. I don't see constitutional arguments as negative or positive. I simply see them as opinions.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    July 26, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    So, George and Lane Myer, would it be appropriate to quit the upkeep on Arlington? Should we turn it over to a private firm? We have all those nasty crosses and stars of david making such a nasty mess of the of the view in public Virginia. The mental gymnastics required for this viewpoint is astounding.

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    Re mcgilm

    "Would you allow this symbol to be displayed if pagan were the religion of a fallen trooper?"


  • mcgilm SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 26, 2011 3:29 p.m.

    For those that say atheists get offended a lot, I suggest you look in the mirror and the constant offense that those of religion have to many things.

    But let me ask this. The pentagram is actually a pagan symbol, not the devil worshiping symbol that Hollywood has made it out to be. Would you allow this symbol to be displayed if pagan were the religion of a fallen trooper?

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Whenever we hear of a news report concerning the AAI it always involves negative messages of some sort, whether it be the cross issue, public prayer or a NYC street sign recognizing the 911 victims.

    I question if this "anti" rhetoric serves their cause of if they they would be better served by promoting projects with a positive spin. They might try raising funds to assist schools purchase science text books and a similar evidenced based curriculum.

  • George Bronx, NY
    July 26, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    @people claining their is no such thing as freedom from religion

    As has been explained to you many times before you have every right as a private citizen or a private organization to express your religious freedoms in the public square and that is not what this is about and you know it. This constant disingenuous line of reasoning does nothing to bolster the positive image of the religions you claim to be so important to you. As has been explained over and over again you do not have the right to have the government elevate your religion above all other beliefs by their endorsing it.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    July 26, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    ST | 2:59 p.m. July 26, 2011
    Layton, UT
    People only get offended if they choose to be. Atheists choose to be offended a lot ... which says a lot about them

    It looks to me as though several people on this thread are choosing to be offended at the Atheists behavior, right?

  • ST Layton, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    People only get offended if they choose to be. Atheists choose to be offended a lot ... which says a lot about them.

  • Led Zeppelin II Bountiful, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    Why is there no double standard? If Atheists want to ban Christianity dont Christians have the right to ban Atheism also?
    The people who came to this country came for religious freedom. I say the ones who want to take it away can go to Cuba. That will solve the problem.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    July 26, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    The LDS Church doesn't use the cross as its symbol, but for the record, the Angel Moroni is also not the official symbol. The LDS Church has no official symbol--besides, in the words of President Hinckley, "the lives of our people."

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    July 26, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    Lane Myer @1:12pm: "How can you have freedom OF religion if you don't have freedom FROM another persons religion? Impossible."

    Is the mere viewing of a cross in a public place somehow forcing religion on the offended parties? You can absolutely have freedom of religion, while simultaneously allowing somebody else the freedom to express his own religious beliefs in the public square. We've been doing it - mostly - for 230+ years in this country.

    Crosses aren't part of my own religious expression, nor are stars of David or the crescent moon, or that silly Darwin fish-with-feet thing. But I'd be embarrassed to tell others that I find their expressions offensive. How thin-skinned are we any more?!!?

    "Can't we all just get along?"
    - Rodney King, 20th century statesman/philosopher

  • bemused OREM, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    They should promote them as T for Trooper. Even a*heis*s can'* ge* offended a* *he alphabe*. Or can *hey?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:24 p.m.

    Cut the top off of these crosses! Make them a "T" for trooper. Everyone happy now?

  • miffedsportsfan Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:08 p.m.

    Freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion are NOT two sides of the same coin as the atheists are currently trying to present it. The atheists are currently trying to rid this country of ANY public religious expression or symbolism. That is THEIR current idea of freedom FROM religion. I think that the correct concept of freedom FROM religion is that I cannot force you to believe in my religion (or any religion) or force you to live according to my religion's teachings (if I were Muslim, for example, I shouldn't be able to force you to pray 5 times a day) - you have your own right to believe in (or to NOT believe in) any religion. But, freedom FROM religion, does NOT mean that I cannot express my belief in a God (or my disbelief in a God) in a public setting. It does NOT mean that a religious organization should be prevented from displaying their "faith" in public just because somebody MAY be offended by seeing it because they are not of that faith. By trying to obtain freedom FROM religion the atheists are forcing THEIR religion (or lack thereof) on ALL of us.

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    July 26, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    @ Chris B, I agree that mormons don't tend to react negatively when seeing crosses. But I'm surprised the athesists didn't choose another jursidiction, one in which the general public would have wanted to really right over the crosses.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:30 p.m.

    These atheists are just trying to find something to be bitter and upset about, which is the typical liberal thing to do.


    I know quite a few atheists who are republicans and conservative. Aren't you generalizing?

  • mcgilm SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:24 p.m.


    Actually, that is where you are 100% wrong. Freedom of and from religion are simply two sides of the same coin. If a person has no religious belief system, such as atheists, that religious belief is just as valid and protected as those that do have a specific religion.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    It is always interesting to see such barn-yard legal manuvering. It seems rather obvious that there is a fear among atheists that the US Supreme court will overturn the 10th Circuit Courts decision.

    By the way, if you can't desplay these honorary monuments, what about grave markers that are crosses in public cemetaries?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    miffedsportsfan | 12:46 p.m. July 26, 2011
    Sandy, UT
    They will continue to abuse the system as long as they can get away with it.
    They fail to understand that the Constitution grants the citizens of the United States freedom OF religion and does NOT grant anybody freedom FROM religion.


    How can you have freedom OF religion if you don't have freedom FROM another persons religion? Impossible.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    July 26, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    As a fellow athiest, I would want a final ruling by the top court to end the issue once and for all. Seems this group has a ruling in their favor, so they don't want it to go any further.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:05 p.m.

    "Its interesting this battle is occurring in Utah. LDS don't use crosses."

    Also interesting is that the Mormons don't go crazy whenever they see a cross.

    These atheists are just trying to find something to be bitter and upset about, which is the typical liberal thing to do.

    Let's all say a prayer for these Atheists.

  • eagle651 Chino Valley, AZ
    July 26, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    HOW SAD, these minority groups have been able to over power the majority of Christian and Judaism believers with their beliefs [or lack of], with help from our courts.
    Satin works through many vehicles and this is just one of them. A Biblical sign of the times

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 26, 2011 1:00 p.m.

    Monuments and crosses along the highways and road ways is a poor idea, the same as with bill boards. If the state wishes to honor a select group of its citizens then it would be best to have a location approved by vote where there can be a park or monument for all the honored in one place rather than strung out accross the state. Then one has to ask why is one group more deserving of honor than another group when all groups accept the consequences of their employment with their pay check.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    July 26, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Its interesting this battle is occurring in Utah. LDS don't use crosses.

  • FieryDarts Kaysville, Utah
    July 26, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    This issue is more nuanced than it is at first glance. In this state, even though the cross is not a distinctive symbol of religious worship for most people (an Angel Moroni is a more distinctive symbol for Latter-day Saints), crosses are used to memorialize people who are distinguished by their public service (either by dying in the line of duty as police officers or by serving in the military). Even though the use of crosses in that manner originated as a religious symbol, its use in this state is largely divorced from that original religious meaning.

    So, at what point does a religious symbol cease to be a religious symbol? We can accept that Christmas trees are not inherently religious even though they started out with religious meaning (even if they were originally pagan they were enthusiastically adopted by Christians).

    Additionally, this case does have much broader application, such as relating to whether a place like Las Cruces (literally "The Crosses") can have a cross in its city logo.

  • miffedsportsfan Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    They will continue to abuse the system as long as they can get away with it.
    They fail to understand that the Constitution grants the citizens of the United States freedom OF religion and does NOT grant anybody freedom FROM religion.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    July 26, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    Just as with fallen soldiers, fallen Troopers should be honored with a symbol of whatever religion they adhere to. A cross for Christianity, a star for Judaism, etc. I don't see any problem with this and anyone taking it to court is simply abusing the system.